On Friday, chief of police of the Swedish city of Malmö, Stefan Sinteus, issued an open letter for local citizens in order to encourage them to provide testimonials, which might help police to solve scores of serious crimes, including dozens of attempted killings, rapes, beatings, murders and other offenses, and find perpetrators in a spike in violence in the city.
“I can assure you that the police in Malmö are doing everything we can for suspected perpetrators to be held accountable. But we cannot do it on our own. We depend on you, and your witness statements, to solve these violent crimes. Therefore I appeal now to you: Help us,” Sinteus wrote.
According to the letter, potential witnesses in the murder, committed in Rosengard district of Malmö city on January 14 and claimed the life of 16-year-old Iraqi boy Ahmed Obaid, did not want to give any testimony due to racist threats directed at his former schoolmates. Reportedly, the threats were posted under the photo of the boy’s dead body.
“They are scared. They are terrified and are wondering who’s going to be shot next,” the Swedish Sydsvenskan newspaper quoted the words of the school’s headmaster.
Obaid was living in Sweden since early childhood, after his family found refuge there. He was shot, being next to a bus stop and later died of his wounds. According to police, there were several witnesses at the scene at the time of the shooting.
In his open letter, the chief of police also mentioned an attempted murder of another teenager, committed on Saturday, and promised to take whatever measures are necessary to push forward both investigations.
According to Senteus, “Malmö police are currently investigating 11 murders and 80 attempted murders,” as well as “other crimes of violence, beatings, rapes, thefts and frauds.” Last week, reinforcements from the National Operations Department (NOA) were sent to Malmo in order to help city’s police to tackle what Sinteus described as “an upward spiral [of violence] of large dimensions.”
It is not the first time that Malmö, the third largest city in Sweden, which has an over 80 percent migrant population, predominantly of Middle Eastern, African and Eastern European origin, has raised the alarm about the increasing wave of violence. Last year, a series of arsons, blasts and shootings, which followed the sentencing of three men, who committed a bomb attack in the Christmas Eve in Rosengard, made local police to appeal to their colleagues at a national level for help.